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The Wild are often, and fairly, mocked for their lack of offense. Coming into tonight's game, the Wild were dead last in the NHL in scoring. Leaving tonight's game, they will very likely still be dead last in the NHL in scoring, but at least they will have shown they are capable of scoring goals in bunches.
After a fast start on a tip from Jason Zucker to put the Wild up 1-0, the Wild fell into Wild mode. They played most of the first period in their own zone, despite getting solid chances in the offensive zone, and were getting absolutely shelled by the Coyotes. Niklas Backstrom kept turingin away pucks, and the Wild continued to hang on for dear life. Eventually, Dany Heatley (oh he of the compliance buy-out talk) would snipe a disgustingly beautiful shot past Mike Smith to put the Wild up 2-0 to close the opening frame.
Coming into the second, fans here at Hockey Wilderness were feeling pretty good. The Wild were not playing perfectly, but they were playing good hockey, and had a lead on the road against a hot Phoenix team. Despite the fact that the Wild carried a penalty kill over to the new period, the momentum felt as though it were all on the side of the visiting team.
Matt Cullen, who has 10 points in the last 13 games, fed Heatley at the top of the circles, and Heatley crushed the puck past Smith. At this point, Wild fans asked if scoring more than 2 goals in a game was allowed. The Coyotes would get involved as Rostilav Klesla would pit his first of the season. Not to be out done, Jared Spurgeon would pound home a Mikko Koivu rebound from inside the crease on a power play that resulted from Raffi Torres being Raffi Torres.
Brendan Shanahan will no doubt review tape to find a Wild player to suspend for scoring four times in a single game.
The third period fell into a defensive posture for the Wild, but the Coyotes would add a second goal on a freak bounce off the stanchion that caught Backstrom off guard. The NHL is going to need to show some proof that the seamless glass was causing problems, because the bounces the puck takes in too many situations are just ridiculous.
The end of the game would get interesting as the Coyotes took a penalty late as they tried to pull LaBarbera, but Cullen would match the stupidity, resulting in 4-on-4 hockey. The Yotes would yank the goalie and Kieth Yandle would beat Backstrom glove side on a very stoppable shot. The Coyotes would pin the Wild for nearly a minute to end the game, but they would escape with the win.
Find a solution that works.
The Wild come away with a huge two points jumping up the packed Western Conference, and head to Anaheim to face a Ducks team that looks darn near unstoppable. They are on a two-game winning streak and looking for more.
Three Stars of the Game
1. Dany Heatley (2G)
2. Jason Zucker (1G)
3. Jonas Brodin (Just because I can)
- Anyone care to, you know, score? Apparently so, yes. Wow.
- Zach Parise and Ryan Suter are looking the part. Anyone else care to join them? Zucker looked good, Cullen was good until the stupid penalty at the end, and Brodin continues to quietly be the best defender on the ice night in and night out.
- What tricks can the Wild pull off tonight? GOALZ!!!1
- Are there other questions to answer? Nope. I'm out of questions.
- Blah blah blah? Indeed.